It was a bloody day in Saint Louis as four players won their games today, with Caruana, So, and Vachier-Lagrave remaining in the lead with 2.5/3 so far. Bringing his score to 2.0/3 was Mamedyarov, who defeated Rapport in an incredibly action-packed game.
Xiong - Dominguez | ½-½, 34 moves
The only draw of the day was the first one to finish as Xiong essayed the Four Knights Scotch but was unable to generate much imbalance against the solid play of Dominguez. A balanced middlegame saw the players trade everything off before ending up in a dead drawn rook endgame.
So - Svidler | 1-0, 28 moves
It was a difficult game for the eight-time Russian champion, who fell worse in a Symmetrical English after So executed the thematic queenside break of b2-b4. Things rapidly turned sour for Svidler, as White’s pressure on the queenside and center soon reached a breaking point, causing Black’s position to collapse under the stress.
28.Ne4! forced resignation from Svidler, as 28...Be5 runs into 29.Rxd6! and Black can’t take back in view of Nef6+, winning the queen.
Caruana - Swiercz | 1-0, 47 moves
After starting the tournament with two losses, Darius Swiercz had the unpleasant task of facing Caruana today as Black. Unfortunately for Swiercz, Caruana showed up in excellent form, outplaying the former World Junior Champion in a dynamic Open Sicilian. Thanks to some powerful play in the middlegame, Caruana obtained two powerful passed pawns in the center, which allowed him to quickly steamroll his opponent soon thereafter.
30.b4! gave Caruana two unstoppable pawns in the center, leading to a crushing victory.
Vachier-Lagrave - Shankland | 1-0, 47 moves
Good preparation by Shankland allowed him to seize the initiative on the Black side of an Italian Game, but after castling queenside he did not find the most accurate way to proceed and allowed Vachier-Lagrave good counterplay. After the ensuing complications, the players ended up in a knight endgame that was objectively drawn, but a blunder by Shankland gave MVL the chance to go into a winning king and pawn endgame, which he promptly seized and eventually converted.
Mamedyarov - Rapport | 1-0, 54 moves
In the most exciting game of the day, Mamedyarov and Rapport squared off in the ultra-sharp Meran Variation of the Semi-Slav. In a dynamic middlegame with chances for both sides, Mamedyarov got the better of his opponent in a hectic time scramble, as Rapport ended up blundering on the 40th move. Upon reaching the time control, Mamedyarov accurately calculated his way to victory, finding several only moves to finish off the game.
44.Qe5! was the only winning move in the position, with the point that 44...Rg2 45.Ne4!+- is winning for White, as pointed out by Mamedyarov after the game.
Round 3 of the 2021 Sinquefield Cup takes place on Friday, August 20, starting at 2:50 PM CDT, with all the action covered live by commentators GM Yasser Seirawan, GM Alejandro Ramirez, and GM Maurice Ashley. Watch live on grandchesstour.org as well as twitch.tv/kasparovchess.
Text: IM Kostya Kavutskiy
Photo: Lennart Ootes and Austin Fuller
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Saint Louis Chess Club, USA
August 10- August 16, 2021
Photos: Courtesy of Grand Chess Tour and Spectrum Studios Credits available on Flickr.